Mountain Double Cranksets for Bike Touring and Adventure Bikes
Who knew 42t rear cogs would become a thing? Perhaps its my curmudgeon/retro-grouch ways but I’m still a little skeptical about the current trend in 1x cranksets for “adventure bikes”. I’m sure they are wonderful and work perfectly for some people, but knowing my own proclivities (desire for a wider range than they can provide and low gearing), they sort of philosophically annoy me especially when a perfectly good and less expensive alternative already exists – the mountain double. In this vid, I compare gear inches (always exciting!) between the mountain double, the dubious compact road cranksets some brands put on touring bikes and the au courant 1x system. Warning: opinions expressed in the video.
Don February 1, 2017 at 10:31 am
Hey Russ, I’m totally with you on this. I’m using a fairly tank-like Brodie Argus on mixed terrain with a 44-30 and 11-32 with no extra gear, and I plan to switch to a 12-36. I think 1x is great for a town bike but it doesn’t take much variety in terrain to justify two rings, if only for the “shortcut” shift effect. People seem to discount that to simulate dropping to a granny ring on a 1x requires a lot of clicking which can kill momentum, very dispiriting, especially when stuff comes up unexpectedly. (I laughed that you are grabbing the SRAM double as soon as they drop it.) Best when that front mech is also mtn-specific to match the curve of the chainring. Also wanted to mention that the Sugino ox601, which you’ve looked at in the past, comes in a 44-30, what I have, and now Soma Fabrications allows you to buy the crankset and specify the rings—a bit of a premium but reasonable for the result, the main difference in favor of the Sugino being a relatively low q-factor. And then more economical still than the mtn double is the triple with the outer replaced by a bash guard. I set my sister up with a 40-24 that way, shifts fine with an ancient front derailleur. Finally it bears saying that knee health is a major factor here. I am not the only 50-something to come to accept the ways of the spin, standing to climb more for variety than speed. Cheers
Russ February 1, 2017 at 10:42 am
Great comment. Didn’t think about the potential loss of momentum when having to dump gears quickly. Also, yes, if I had the $ I’d put the Sugino OX601 on every bike. That might make a great vid!
sang February 2, 2017 at 4:56 pm
hey Russ! I’m totally with you on the mtb double, and in fact made this happen on my gravel rando/tourer a few years ago. however there is a real technical issue that i came across of which you and your readers may want to be informed. i also put a 42/28 on by using a SRAM force 22 crankset for low q and removable spider. however that required also using a SRAM XX 2x fr. derailleur because the Force fr. derailleur would not clear the chainstay for such small rings. unfortunately an mtb fr. derailleur’s lateral range often isn’t enough to pull down to the small ring with road cranks and 68mm BB. luckily the clamp size was much larger than my bike’s 28.6mm seat tube diameter, and i was able to engineer an eccentric clamp shim. it works great, but i’m not sure its a solution that everyone could implement… caution!
Dave July 24, 2018 at 12:18 pm
Hi Russ, thanks for the video and helpful comments! I would like to change my Shimano compact 50/34 to your mtb crank setup for lower, more reasonable gears for steep climbs. I would like to go with the Sram X9 42/28, but am not sure what BB to use for my threaded bb shell. As I’ve tried to research the crank conversion, there may be compatibility issues with my Shimano 105 10 speed brifters and my stock 105 road derailleur? Or chain line issues? How were you able to work around these. Thanks so much for any info you can send!
Bicycle Touring Explorer December 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm
I am Staying with 3X9 for My Bicycle Touring Trips on my Surly LHT 26in 52cm Touring Bicycle. And with
22-32-42t Crankset with 11-36t cassette 9 speed
Josh Oakley February 14, 2020 at 11:06 am
What rear rear deraileur are you running? I’m running almost the same setup on my Vaya, but with a 11-32 tooth chainring. Currently, I’m running Sora medium cage, with SUPPOSEDLY goes 11-36, but I havn’t been able to confirm it.
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Great overview of the mountain doubles. On my Trek 520, I replaced the stock road triple (53/39/30) with a 44/32/22 mountain triple along with a 9-speed 11-32 cassette. Much easier carrying loads and using friction, there’s no problem at all shifting.
I’ve really come to appreciate the 22-32 gear when dealing with heavy loads and steep grades. Climbing is actually a pleasure!